UPDATEDToday’s Spiritual Food for Thought was first posted on August 20, 2013.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“The Kingdom Characteristics”
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. 17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. 20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
Three thoughts here:
First, noted that Jesus prayed all night (v. 12) before choosing the Twelve. Most likely the choosing occurred sometime after Jesus had met with each of them individually. At that time, anyone who was willing to follow Jesus’ teaching could be labeled as a “disciple” (v. 17). The number of disciples, therefore, was as many as 72 (Luke 10:1), or an entire crowd (John 6:22, 25, 60). Certainly, the task of selecting the Twelve could not have been simple since there were many people of diverse backgrounds to choose from. Perhaps, for that reason, even the Son of God had to pray all night. Thus, should we not pray before making an important decision?
Second, Luke puts emphasis on anyone who is willing to be Jesus’ follower (v. 20), which shows that the kingdom characteristics are not just for the few and the elite but all Christians (vv. 20-26). Does your life reflect the kingdom characteristics? Which one of the characteristics do you need to work on?
Third, we see in verses 24-26 how Jesus characterizes those who are not blessed, which can be summarized as follows: What our culture believes to be good and fortunate is completely opposite of what is considered good and blessed in God’s kingdom. How does that speak to you?
Prayer: Father, help me to desire the characteristics of Your kingdom so that I may embody them through the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of Your Son. In addition, please continue to keep America safe from terroristic attacks even as America needs to repent of her many sins. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 22-23